Anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive system

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Anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive system


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Anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive system

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USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

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A pathologist evaluates the process of sperm production in the testes. It is noticed that cells at different levels of development are taken from the seminiferous tubules. Which of the following is true regarding spermatogenesis?

External References

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Female/male genital homologs p. 647

Male genital embryology p. 645


The male reproductive system includes internal and external organs and structures that help with reproduction.

The external male sex organs are the penis, and below it, the scrotum.

Inside the scrotum, there are the two testicles, or testes - the male gonads.

Inside the body, there’s a system of ducts through which sperm travel during ejaculation, as well as the male accessory sex glands, which secrete nourishing fluids for the travelling sperm.

Now, the testes are two organs the size of small plums, that are located in a skin and muscle pouch called the scrotum.

This pouch has a line called the scrotal raphe running down the middle, which separates it in two chambers - one for each testis.

The scrotum hangs outside of the body but has several layers of muscles and fascia that keep the testis temperature about 3 degrees lower than body temperature, which is perfect for sperm production.

When it’s cold outside, the scrotal skin wrinkles and the scrotum elevates to bring the testes closer to the body to warm up.

When it’s warm outside, the scrotal skin loosens up and the scrotum lowers the testes away from the body, and heat is released through sweating.


  1. "Medical Physiology" Elsevier (2016)
  2. "Physiology" Elsevier (2017)
  3. "Human Anatomy & Physiology" Pearson (2018)
  4. "Principles of Anatomy and Physiology" Wiley (2014)
  5. "Spermatogenesis" Human Reproduction (1998)
  6. "Intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAMs) and spermatogenesis" Human Reproduction Update (2013)
  7. "A gene from the human sex-determining region encodes a protein with homology to a conserved DNA-binding motif" Nature (1990)
  8. "EVIDENCE OF TESTICULAR ACTIVITY IN EARLY INFANCY" The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (1973)

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